Aspiring solicitors can qualify through the solicitor apprenticeship. This provides an alternative to the traditional qualification route through university and may suit candidates who want to ‘earn as they learn’. As an apprentice, your training and assessments are paid for through the apprenticeship levy fund.
Solicitor apprentices must pass the SQE assessment to qualify as a solicitor. The apprenticeship includes SQE training, as well as the assessments, and typically takes 5 to 6 years to complete. At the end, providing apprentices pass the assessment and meet our character and suitability requirements, they can qualify as a solicitor.
Some employers also offer solicitor apprenticeships to individuals who have already completed some legal training, such as a law degree, the Legal Practice Course or the Trailblazer level 3 paralegal apprenticeship. These candidates also need to complete all the elements of the SQE. However, depending on their experience and skills, they may not take the full 5 to 6 years.
There is detailed information on apprenticeships on the GOV.UK website, where you can also search and apply for apprenticeships in England.
Read our Q&As on the solicitor apprenticeship.Open all
Employers taking on apprentices
If your organisation is interested in offering solicitor apprenticeship, here are some tips and things to think about:
- any law firm, in-house legal team or legal services provider can offer a solicitor apprenticeship
- employers work with a training provider to offer the academic study and learning needed
- financial support available from the Government through the apprenticeship levy - amount you get depends on size of your organisation but can cover up to 95% of costs
- can take on apprentices for the full 6 years or graduates for a shorter period (around 2.5 years)
- hiring an apprentice can be good way to grow talent and develop your workforce - you can even offer apprenticeships to existing staff
- information and useful case studies on the Government's website to support employers and answer queries.